Reflexive engagement? Actors, learning, and reflexivity in public dialogue on science and technology

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This article contributes to a more reflexive mode of research on public engagement with science-related issues through presenting an in-depth qualitative study of the actors that mediate science-society interactions, their roles and relationships, and the nature of learning and reflexivity in relation to public dialogue. A mapping framework is developed to describe the roles and relations of actors mediating public dialogue on science and technology in Britain. Learning within public dialogue networks is shown to be instrumental only, crowding out potentials for reflexive and relational learning. This calls for renewed critical social science research alongside more deliberately reflexive learning relating to participatory governance of science and technology that is situated, interactive, public, and anticipatory.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)283-310
Number of pages28
JournalScience Communication
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2013


  • public engagement with science
  • public dialogue networks
  • mediators
  • institutional learning
  • reflection
  • reflexivity

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